Fantasy preview: Arnold Palmer Invitational

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March 20, 2012
Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist

Before digging deep into the field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, remember that the fantasy content for the week doesn't end with this preview. Check my Fantasy Mailbag every Wednesday for a new entry. Much of the information that I share is useful throughout the season, so bookmark it and use it as a reference tool.

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Power Rankings
Rob Bolton breaks down the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard field in this week's Power Rankings and provides five players who could surprise.

Now, due to my dreadful start in PGA TOUR Matchups on Facebook, I got to the point last week that I didn't want to review my results. However, that has changed after a 5-0-0 effort at the Transitions Championship. Actually, given that there were 613 perfect scores at Copperhead, the story would have been if I lost a matchup. This moves me to 16-14-0 for the year with 34 points.

There is a new gamer at the top of the leaderboard. After going 5-0-0 as well last week, crl011 has 52 points, two clear of three in pursuit, including Chris Stolle (3-2-0), who's been in second place for three weeks now. Previous leader, Joeseph Gamsy, went 0-5-0 to remain at 46 points for a share of seventh place.

My picks for the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard:

Sergio Garcia over Phil MickelsonJim Furyk over Bill Haas • Jeff Overton over J.B. Holmes • Justin Rose over Hunter Mahan • Bubba Watson over Graeme McDowell

Power Rankings Distribution for Yahoo! (rank)

Group A ... Webb Simpson (3); Jim Furyk (5); Sergio Garcia (7); K.J. Choi (11); Nick Watney (14)

Group B ... Tiger Woods (1); Justin Rose (2); Bo Van Pelt (4) -- withdrew; Hunter Mahan (6); Bubba Watson (8); Ernie Els (10); Mark Wilson (13)

Group C ... Jeff Overton (9); Martin Laird (12); Jason Dufner (15)

Sleepers Distribution for Yahoo! (rank)

Group A ... none

Group B ... D.A. Points; Chris Stroud; Michael Thompson

Group C ... Brandt Jobe; Cameron Tringale

On a Roll (Yahoo! Group)

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Rob's Yahoo! lineup
Group A: Jim Furyk; Webb Simpson
Group B: Justin Rose; David Toms; Bubba Watson; Tiger Woods
Group C: Martin Laird; Jeff Overton
YAHOO! STATS: 1,499 points; 22,891st place
ONE-AND-DONE: Justin Rose
2012 EARNINGS: $721,422.00
DUFFER: Tim Clark
2012 EARNINGS: $238,524.00

Sang-moon Bae (C) ... En route to a playoff loss at the Transitions, he led the field with 21 birdies despite ranking T59 in greens in regulation. The first-timer at Bay Hill is the only PGA TOUR rookie not to miss a cut this year.

Robert Garrigus (A) ... One second place finish doesn't make for a sequence, but he belongs in this feature after an impressive week at Copperhead where he ranked second in distance off the tee and T5 in greens in regulation. It was also his second second-place finish of the year. Ranks seventh on TOUR in GIR and 27th in adjusted scoring.

Ken Duke (B) ... His T5 at the Transitions was his second top 10 in his last five starts. Has missed just one cut of nine this year. A longer Bay Hill will add pressure on his putting, which was outstanding at Copperhead. Not a wise investment this week.

Graeme McDowell (C) ... Top 15s in both starts on the Florida Swing, which has proven as an extension of some strong form since the last quarter of 2011.

Spencer Levin (A) ... While he shared sixth place here last year (after posting a 76 from the final pairing on Sunday), he's slotted in this category due to his steady form this season. He's logged four top 25s with a pair of top 10s and has an active streak of 14 consecutive cuts made. In a nutshell, he's picked up where he left off a dynamite 2011.

Horses for Courses (Yahoo! Group)

Charles Howell III (A) ... Has played in each of the last 11 editions of the event, missing the cut just twice (2001, 2008). Most recent top 25 was a T21 in 2010.

Kevin Na (A) ... Cooled since consecutive T5s on the West Coast Swing, but he finished T11 here in 2009 and shared runner-up honors in 2010.

Sean O'Hair (A) ... Pre-renovation, he posted a pair of top-threes and a T14. Since 2010, he's finished T21 and missed the cut. No top 25s in his last four starts this season.

Pat Perez (C) ... He's 9-for-9 at Bay Hill but all six of his top-35 finishes occurred before the 2010 renovation.

Chad Campbell (B) ... Won this tournament in 2004 and hasn't missed a cut in any of his nine appearances. Just 2-for-7 with no top 25s this year, however.

D.J. Trahan (C) ... Top 15s in both years since the renovation. He'll need to lean on that history as he's missed both of his cuts on the Florida Swing this season and hasn't broken 73 in his last five rounds.

Rod Pampling (C) ... The 2006 champ has three other top 25s, including a T12 last year.

Leaking Oil (Yahoo! Group)

John Rollins (B) ... Riding an 0-for-3 skid and hasn't broken 71 in his last six rounds. Missed the cut in his last two appearances at Bay Hill.

Brendan Steele (B) ... In his last three starts, he's missed a cut and finished T69 and solo 75th. Enduring the usual pitfalls of a sophomore season, so there's no reason to be alarmed. My long-range confidence is unaffected.

Anthony Kim (B) ... A T42 at The Honda Classic remains his only cut made in six starts. Missed the weekend at the Transitions by three strokes. First-timer at Bay Hill.

Jeff Maggert (C) ... Missed his last four cuts and hasn't broken 70 in his last 10 rounds.

Danger (Yahoo! Group)

Phil Mickelson (A) ... His ramp to the Masters begins this week. While he's earned the right to sit in the Power Rankings just about every time he tees it up, gamers know that there are weeks when we respect his short-term objective. This is one of them. Also hasn't cracked the top 20 at Bay Hill in his last four appearances.

Bill Haas (B) ... Since his playoff win at Riviera, he went 0-1 at the WGC-Match Play and finished T29 at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. That doesn't concern me all that much but he's not jumping off the page as a must-start for Bay Hill in Yahoo!'s Group B. However, I'm forever intrigued at how he continues to redefine who he is as a touring pro, so this isn't as much of a fade as it is a nod to the expectation that I'm going to want to exhaust my 10 starts wisely. (I have eight remaining.)

David Toms (B) ... Although he shared third place here last year, Bay Hill isn't the prototypical track where you expect him to contend. His value soars when fairways hit is at a premium. That said, if you're eyeing a couple of risks in Yahoo!'s Group B, I'd endorse benching Toms as a safety net for the weekend.

Gary Woodland (B) ... Continues to grind out consistent results but has yet to post a top 25 in a full-field event this year. Once he turns a corner on his swing modifications, you'll have ample opportunities to plug him in.

Scott Piercy (C) ... Although it was inspiring, his closing, bogey-free 62 at Copperhead was merely one outstanding round. He finished T5 but shot 73 the previous day. Also 0-for-1 at Bay Hill. Still a fine long-term own, however.

Vijay Singh (C) ... The 2007 champ sits second in all-time earnings at this tournament but in his only start since the overhaul at Bay Hill, he missed the cut last year with a pair of 75s. More recently, he's posted finishes outside the top 30 in his last three starts and hasn't broken 70 in his last 14 rounds.

Brandt Snedeker (B) ... A great week to holster him even though he matches up nicely on paper. However, he's struggled since Bay Hill was stretched in advance of the 2010 edition. Prior to it, he posted three top 25s in as many starts; since, he's finished T30 and missed the cut.

Rory Sabbatini (A) ... In his last five events, he's made just two cuts and hasn't cracked a top 60. Just 1-for-5 at Bay Hill with a T30 in 2010.

Tim Clark (B) ... In two starts since returning to competition, he's missed cuts by 13 and nine strokes and hasn't broken 75 in any of the four rounds.

Greg Owen (B) ... Since his heartbreaking three-putt at the penultimate hole and his bogey at the last at Bay Hill in 2006, when he lost by one stroke (to Rod Pampling), he's 0-for-3 with six consecutive rounds over par.

J.J. Killeen (C) ... The PGA TOUR rookie and first-timer at Bay Hill will be competing in a PGA TOUR-high eleventh consecutive week. He's recorded just one top 30 and missed the cut at the Transitions.

Medic! (Yahoo! Group)

Trevor Immelman (B) ... Withdrew from last week's Transitions due to his nagging wrist but competed in the Tavistock Cup this week. Could be a sneaky investment at Bay Hill since he's survived the last five cuts there with a pair of top 15s.

Michael Putnam (C) ... In the field at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Nationwide Tour. Returning after fracturing the lunate bone in his left wrist last summer. He didn't have surgery. Planning to return to the PGA TOUR at the Valero Texas Open in a month. Has four starts on a medical extension when he does.

David Berganio Jr. (n/a) ... In the field at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Nationwide Tour. Last played at the second stage of q-school in November, but failed to advance. Hasn't teed it up in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event since July 2009 due to a recurring disc injury. Still has seven starts on a medical extension on the PGA TOUR.

Notable WDs (Yahoo! Group)

Steve Marino (B) ... Withdrew early on Monday. Remains out since the Farmers in late January. Claude Harmon III, who is Marino's swing coach and Director of Instruction at Butch Harmon Floridian (in Palm City), tweeted a photo of Marino on March 13 with the following text attached: "Steve Marino testing out the knee." You'll recall that Marino sustained an injury to the meniscus in his right knee late last season.

Chris Kirk (B) ... His wife delivered the couple's first child last week.

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